How to Rebuild a Team During a Crisis [A CMOE Case Study]

Helping leadership teams recover after the global pandemic will be no small task. In this blog, we will share the story of one leader who is using his experience with CMOE’s Team Alignment process to bring his team back from the brink.

Case Study: Shawn

Shawn is considered by many to be a good leader. He wants the best for his team and all of his stakeholders and worked tirelessly during the pandemic-driven shutdown and subsequent reopening of his plant to ensure the business would survive. Managing the crisis by working remotely, scrambling to rebuild the supply chain, reducing pay, and instituting temporary furloughs took a heavy toll on Shawn’s team. Their communication, unity, and problem-solving effectiveness were suffering under the weight of the fatigue, tension, and stress that every member of the leadership team was experiencing.

The chaos caused by the pandemic was wreaking havoc on the organization and it wasn’t Shawn’s fault, but he knew that it was his responsibility to take action and reverse the deterioration of his team. The growing rift in his team would not heal on its own, and if the dysfunction continued, Shawn knew that his team would never reach their strategic goals or achieve peak performance even after they’d gotten through the economic disruption. Shawn also knew he would need a stellar leadership team to win the hearts and minds of new customers and implement the next wave of technology and methodology in his facility.

Supervisor

Shawn initially reached out to CMOE for some one-on-one leadership coaching but soon learned about CMOE’s Team Alignment process. The Team Alignment process is used to rebuild teams, spark creativity, and solve business issues—and it can be delivered in a blended, live-virtual format. Shawn was relieved to discover that he could take active measures to help his team immediately, despite the need to maintain social distance and abide by the restrictions on travel that had been imposed by his organization.

Shaw felt confident that CMOE’s live-virtual Team Alignment process, consisting of three parts, would help him get his team to a better place:

Part I. Preparation and Planning

Part I focuses on gathering and analyzing data about the team and the current business situation. This data comes from phone interviews, an online survey, and a review of business challenges. This information enables the CMOE team to design an alignment meeting that is customized to the specific challenges and priorities of the team and organization.

Part II. Live-Virtual Meeting

Part II is the live-virtual alignment meeting itself. This is where the deep work occurs. The alignment meeting is a highly engaging, interactive session focused on real issues and opportunities for improvement. It allows the leadership team to tackle its challenges in a safe environment so the team can begin to move in the right direction. During these sessions, people come together to learn, collaborate, and develop solutions for the crucial issues facing their organizations. We begin with a two-hour, live-virtual session followed by a 45-minute break. After the break, the team engages in another two-hour session during which the team builds action plans, makes commitments, and agrees to a sustainability plan.

Part III. Results Forum

Ensuring that positive changes will sustain and allow the team to be successful over the long term depends on the team’s ability to follow through and implement the action plans created by the individuals involved in the Team Alignment process. We use a tool called “Accountability Teams” to ensure that teams execute on their plans. The work of the Accountability Teams is followed with a “Results Forum,” a team report-out that was developed to check on the progress the Accountability Teams have made 60 days out.

Although Shawn and his team aren’t out of the woods yet, they are engaged and moving in the right direction thanks to the Team Alignment process outlined above. The process has also been time- and cost-efficient for them, and assessment data from the first live-virtual experience gave the session extraordinarily high marks: 87% of the attendees were very satisfied with the effectiveness of the session. Best of all, the team is now much more unified and core business KPIs (like quality and waste) have started to improve, resulting in enormous savings for the business.

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About the Author

Steven Stowell, Ph.D.

Dr. Steven J. Stowell is the Founder and President of the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness, Inc. CMOE was created in 1978 for the purpose of helping individuals and teams maximize their effectiveness and create strategic competitiveness. Steve’s special interests lie in helping leaders and organizations transform into high-performance cultures that are focused on long-term, sustained growth. Steve began his career working in the energy industry. During the past 30 years, Steve has consulted with both small and large corporations, government agencies, school systems, and non-profit organizations in 35 different countries. Steve enjoys the challenges of • Helping functional organizations define, create, and execute strategy in order to differentiate the business. • Developing and designing creative and innovative learning experiences, simulations, and keynote presentations. • Helping functions across the organization be more effective and aligned in executing long-term plans. The centerpiece of Steve’s consulting, learning, and executive coaching work is his advocacy of applied research and data collection. Steve is a highly effective presenter and facilitator and enjoys creating customized solutions, assisting senior teams, defining strategic direction from the individual level to the corporate and business-unit level, and improving teams that are faced with important challenges and issues.